And yes, I, like all mortals, have a mortal father whom I share with three siblings and I, today, honor him along with my Eternal Father.
Dad died in 1996. He lived a long, nearly 98 years, and good life. He was a good and honorable man who loved his wife of 70 years, his four children and his ever growing posterity.
Each of his children paid him homage during his lifetime and we continue to honor him in death knowing that we will yet see him in the heavens above.
Dad was a master story teller — especially when he told the story of Sam Magee.
We would listen in awe as he told this story — from memory, right up until the year of his death. And every time I read about a master teacher here in Cherokee County I think of and honor my father for he was also a master teacher.
He had the ability to see the latent talents in his students and to help them develop their God given talents.
Through his students, who loved him, he served his fellow man, as must we all. He left a legacy of service to family and community that his family, both his ancestors and posterity, are proud of.
But I, along with everyone else who believes in the Bible, share an Eternal Father — the Father of our eternal spirit — the spirit that comes from Him to our mortal body at birth, and separates from our mortal body at death — a separation that lasts until the resurrection when body and spirit will be reunited to create the eternal soul.
On Father’s Day, as I honor my father who has crossed that bridge between mortality and immortality, I often think of the term ‘life eternal,’ and what it means in my life, and in the lives of my family — and of my father. And as I ponder this term I often read Christ’s intercessory prayer found in John 17, especially verses 3 and 4. They read: “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee [our Eternal Father] the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.”
While I learn what life eternal is I ponder the meaning of the phrase “I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do,” and wonder if each of us have, as was the Savior, given an assignment to complete during our sojourn in mortality in order to glorify our Eternal Father, as did the Savior.
Anyone who has fathered and raised more than one child knows that every child they father are unique.
They may share family resemblances, like skin color, eye color, etc, but each child has a different spirit — and different talents, talents given to us by our Eternal Father that each of us may contribute to both the individual family and to the larger community, His eternal family.
Perhaps the primary assignment given by God to the male specie was to marry and father children and to raise them in the ways of the Lord that they all may complete their sojourn in mortality and return to Him and there be given ‘life eternal.’ And one of the gifts, perhaps the greatest gift except for life itself, is the gift of agency (some call it free will), the gift to choose what we will be in mortality.
My father chose well — he chose to marry a righteous woman and together they chose to give birth to four children — and to teach them of God and of His great plan of happiness.
By so choosing he has glorified not only his Eternal Father, but himself and his family as well.
Fathers, Sunday is your day — ponder your fatherhood.
Donald Conkey is a retired agricultural economist in Woodstock.